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June 30, 2021

Explore the future in education with Reading Partners AmeriCorps

“Are you my teacher today?,” asked my little pupil from across the city (and through his screen).

I am that little one’s teacher. And a teacher of teachers. I, who averted any suggestion of a career in education in the traditional sense. Mom’s much-repeated admonition as I first boarded a plane to teach English far, far away that “There are plenty of people right here that could use all that passion and education” got very real with the twenty little faces and the virtual portals into their families as I’ve served this year. 

Right here, for me, means San Francisco, where I am raising my own family. In these two years as site coordinator, being a teacher meant educating myself and others in ways I didn’t sign up for.  I’ve found a new and present calling, and have pledged to channel passion and learning into a program to fast track me into the classroom for the next few years. I am very hopeful it will be at “my” school- a little building south of Market Street, serving “my” kids, in our city, our home.

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Teachers, by any other name, lead their communities to better lives. A year (or two!) serving with Americorps at Reading Partners can be an incredible segway to a new vocation, a new call to serve. I love being “Teacher.” I hope you’ll embrace all that it can mean for you. 

Whether you are thinking about joining the field of education, or rather it’s been your role for years, Reading Partners offers an opportunity to support children and families as we work with communities to close the literacy gap in a most novel way. 

A year and a half ago, in an unconventional time of life, I became a Reading Partners site coordinator in a downtown San Francisco school. Three months into my service term, we found ourselves on the brink of an unprecedented time in contemporary history. It was challenging. It was frustrating. It was rewarding. You might say I found my zone of proximal development (teacher joke!).

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I became part of a community of educators across the Bay Area, state, and country that believe in the power of educational equity to interrupt systemic racism, poverty, and social inequality—all systems exacerbated by the pandemic. I became a colleague, teammate, then a friend, of those whose paths I may not have otherwise crossed, concluding together that reading empowers, and a little imagination goes a long way.   

This past year, a burgeoning idea evolved into timely action. Reading Partners proudly rolled out Reading Partners Connects, a virtual response to providing individualized reading instruction to elementary school children via volunteers and community engagement. On the ground, Americorps members worked closer than ever before with Reading Partners staff, classroom teachers, literacy interventionists, and volunteers. Most significantly, we worked directly with families to provide students the literacy intervention they needed, when and where they needed it: at home. 

The future of traditional education may be uncertain, but what is certain is that students and communities are in need of dedicated educators willing to take on the amorphous but very real challenge of closing the literacy gap in the midst of the pandemic. You can be those educators in a year of service with Reading Partners. Click here to read more about school-based roles.

Serving with Americorps will put you at the heart of the cause of educational equity. You’ll find yourself in a vibrant and diverse community of passionate people, learning more about how and what you want to do to build better futures. Reading Partners staff and service year cohorts are made up of tech professionals, PeaceCorps alumni, curriculum experts, world travelers, first-generation college graduates, social activists, former teachers, new parents, grandparents, all levels of students and yes, at least one DJ.  

A Reading Partners service year is entering a community in which your voice, and your rather unique experience, are enthusiastically welcomed. Reading Partners can use your talents to transform lives and change outcomes for children and entire communities. You might find your own life changed along the way. 

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